At HFG, we are committed to life-centered financial planning. Mitch Anthony and Paul Armison founded life-centered financial planning. Certainly, money is important, and there is no denying it; however, life-centered financial planning puts it in the proper perspective. Money is merely a tool that allows you to fully enjoy the most important things in life, which are loving relationships, great experiences, and a life of meaning and purpose. We believe in inner wealth, where when you worry less about money, you can be more present for the most important things.
Last year, I listened to an excellent podcast interview with Ed Mylett when he interviewed Dr. Marissa Franco. Dr. Franco was talking about her book, Platonic. I ended up purchasing the book, and it was one of the best books I have read this year. Marissa’s research showed that we often focus on romantic love in our culture and do not discuss platonic love. In doing so, we miss out on the entire human experience of love between family, friends, and others. Everyone may not have the opportunity for romantic love, but virtually all of us have the ability for platonic love.
One thing Dr. Franco shared that hit me hard was statistics around longevity. They found that the quality of relationships was an even better predictor of longevity than diet and exercise. We focus so much on physical health, which is important, but the emotional health of good relationships is even more important.
To take this theme further, in my 17 years as a financial planner, I have observed that some of our happiest and most fulfilled clients have invested heavily in relationships with family and friends.
Here are three things clients have passed on to me:
(1) Expand your network beyond your spouse and family - Although usually, our family is the most important people in our lives, especially our spouse, it is crucial to have friends and people we interact with beyond them. The network can provide so much to us, including support during tough times with our family, like losing loved ones, illness, and long-term care. The network can also enhance our relationships with our loved ones by providing experiences with the network that we can share with them. Often, spouses who have been married for a long time know each other’s stories. Having different experiences with friends can give those spouses various topics to discuss. One of our clients gave me sage advice; she said, “Adam, always make friends with people younger than you. You will lose those your age and become more isolated.” I have seen how that was beneficial when she lost her husband and other close friends.
(2) Platonic love and relationship can give us joy and laughter. We work with so many characters, and that is putting it lightly. Some bring the party to us. I am thinking of one of our long-term clients who lightens the room with that joy and laughter. She has multiple groups of friends she eats out with and participates in social activities. She has a name for each group. My favorite group that she is a part of is a group of women who call themselves - JUGs. What does JUGs stand for - Just Us Gals!
What did you think it stood for? LOL!
(3) Friendships allow us to share passions and interests with others who have the same passions and interests. I am thinking of 4 scenarios: (A) So many clients volunteer and serve for non-profits and their faith community and find others committed to serving. (B) We have folks that are part of quilting, scrapbooking, automobile, computer, woodworking, playing cards, and everything under the sun. (C) Other folks have more physical pursuits like golf, scuba diving, and one of the most prominent groups, pickleball. In Fallston, the pickleball group was so robust people ended up having dinners and parties together. (D) We have found friends who like to travel together and take trips together.
Ultimately, what makes us happy is the quality of our relationships with people. Yes, you need to invest financially to have adequate retirement income. However, the most important thing you can invest in retirement is relationships!!!!